1980 年代解嚴後的台灣社會，從政治的多元化逐漸發展為社會多元化，展現出在後現代主義社會下的家庭的多元價值觀，婆媳關係自然也不同於以往的傳統社會，擁有尊卑觀念文化結構的婆婆，與面對無法曲就的後現代媳婦；如何走過此種艱困適應機制是值得探討的議題。本研究之研究目的是探討後現代主義社會中婆婆的角色認知感受；也期望了解分析後現代主義下婆婆家務角色之改變及其適應類型。本研究以鮑威爾(Douglas H. Powell)在適應機制中的自我保護反應為理論架構，採取探索性之質化研究方式，並運用深度訪談法完成本項研究。本研究結果發現，在自我防衛部分，婆婆中有反向作用，採用此以達到測試子媳的孝心的目的。在因應措施部分，婆婆們採用扺消作用、壓制作用與昇華作用；在調適機轉部分，婆婆採認同作用、同理心、預期心理與認同與壓抑等。顯示後現代社會下的婆婆，在傳統權力消失後，對現實的了解與認知是其良好的適應機制重要關鍵議題。本文的最大期望是對在後現代主義社會下的社會工作者之工作技巧有更多的啟發。
After abolishing martial law in 1987, Taiwan society has gone through not only political liberalization but also social diversification. It has demonstrated the family multi-values of the post-modern society; consequently, relationships between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law are different from those of the past. Mothers-in-law who own the beliefs of traditional respectful culture face the post-modern daughters-in-law who do not show obedience have to learn how to go through difficulties. Thus, the issues of adjustment mechanisms are worth to be explored. The purpose of this study is to investigate cognition and feeling as the role of mother-in-law in the post-modernism society as well as to understand and analyze mothers-in-law's role changes and adjustment models. Theoretical underpinning is based on Powell's three-level self protection response of adaptation mechanisms. This study utilized exploratory qualitative research, which was conducted with in-depth interviews. There were three major findings from this study. First, in the level of ego defenses, mothers-in-law showed reversion to test daughters-in-law for their filial piety. Second, in the level of coping devices, mothers-in-law used undoing, suppression and sublimation. The third finding is in the level of adjustment mechanisms, in which mothers-in-law demonstrated identification, empathy, anticipation, identification and repression. These findings manifest that understanding and recognizing reality of mothers-in-law in the postmodern society is the important issue for their good adjustment after their losing traditional power. Great expectations lie on giving implications to social workers for their better techniques and skills practiced in the post-modern society.